Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Now, It's Jerry & Barry Show Cowboys Replace Johnson with Switzer

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Now, It's Jerry & Barry Show Cowboys Replace Johnson with Switzer

Article excerpt

For years, Barry Switzer was a giant of the college football coaching ranks. His .837 winning percentage in 16 seasons at Oklahoma is the fourth-highest in college history, and his teams won three national championships.

Now, he's simply the only Dallas Cowboys' coach never to have won a Super Bowl. In fact, his predecessors, Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson, won two each.

In making his second coaching hire in slightly more than five years as owner of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones on Wednesday again turned to a pro football neophyte. Switzer, idle from football for the past five seasons, made it clear in a news conference at the team's Valley Ranch headquarters that he has lost no enthusiasm for the game.

"Today, I can say without question this is the happiest day of my professional career," Switzer said. "I wanted to coach in the NFL, but I thought maybe time had passed me by. I was in the right place at the right time."

In fact, Switzer, 56, said he was on his couch last week when Jones called him in Norman, Okla., to gauge his interest. Jones said he didn't call Switzer until Monday. And then Switzer said he wasn't sure when Jones first called.

That was the only slip-up in a news conference punctuated by Switzer's back-slapping exuberance and Jones' lecturing of the news media.

The name of Jimmy Johnson was raised throughout, with Switzer voicing nothing but praise for his predecessor, who took his team from a league-worst 1-15 record in his first season to winning the past two Super Bowls.

If Switzer took a shot at Johnson, it was in assuring the audience that he would not allow his ego to destroy a working relationship with Jones.

"I asked Jerry how you two guys could have so much success and allow this to happen. I just couldn't imagine it. But I don't live in their house," Switzer said. "Let me say that Barry Switzer's not going to be the problem.

"Barry Switzer knows the rules. I don't have an ego that allows me to step on myself and put myself in a position that could injure that relationship. People close to me know that."

Jones guaranteed that the relationship would work, that things would not change and that this, just like the hiring of Johnson, was another bright day for the Cowboys.

"The guy next to me has my personal and total trust and commitment," said Jones, who has known Switzer since 1962, when Jones was a player at Arkansas and Switzer was an assistant coach. "He happens to be as talented and as special for this situation as anyone. Five years ago, I said we would win, we had to win, that winning was the name of the game. Nothing has changed in five years."

Only this time around, there was no mention of a 10-year contract, which is what Jones gave Johnson when he hired him away from the University of Miami in 1989.

Jones would not disclose the terms of Switzer's contract.

Switzer's OU teams compiled a 157-29-4 record, won 12 Big Eight titles and captured eight bowl victories. …

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